Believe it or not, rough and tumble play is actually ok!  Research has shown it is necessary for social awareness, compassion, and cooperation.

image from pixabay
  • Children are more body-based – this is how they learn about their world
  • Other benefits include:
    • Improves motor skills
    • Allows for emotional expression, energy release and tension reduction
    • Teaches social awareness and boundaries
    • Stress hormones go down; Stimulates endorphins and oxytocin (bonding)

So what is the difference between rough and tumble play versus  fighting? Rough and tumble play will always have:

  • Willing participants
  • The children are having fun
  • The children keep returning to the rough and tumble play

If one of the children is not having fun, not a willing participant and there is intention to hurt, then this is not rough and tumble play.

How to support safe rough and tumble play:

  • Ensure that the area is free from objects that can cause injury
  • Is the area large enough to support this type of play?
  • Set rules for the rough and tumble play such as “no hitting” and “no biting”